Tanzania’s Finance Minister, Saada Mkuya, said earlier this week that there was nothing the government could do to stop the value of the shilling from sliding against the dollar. The Citizen reported her as saying that all major currencies in Africa are in freefall, thanks to the stronger dollar.
I have looked at the numbers to see whether this claim is correct. Specifically, I have looked at how five different currencies – including the Tanzanian shilling – have lost value against the US dollar since January 2015. The other four currencies are the Kenyan and Ugandan shillings, Zambian Kwacha and Mozambican Metical. Continue reading →
It should be a fascinating document – the equivalent reports in the past have often been the best national-level summary of Tanzania’s progress towards Millennium Development Goals and Mkukuta targets – see this 2009 report, for example. But this time I was disappointed. In several important areas, the report has almost nothing to say. Continue reading →
The increasing presence and influence of China in Africa is controversial to some. But not, it seems, to Tanzanians. New data from the latest round of Afrobarometer surveys has just been released, with some analysis (pdf) of how Tanzanians perceive Chinese influence.
I have four charts for you. First, how influential do Tanzanians think China actually is, compared to other countries / institutions?
Does inequality matter? What are the effects of wealth being concentrated in the hands of a few individuals?
Well, if you believe some of the world’s most respected economists – people like Thomas Piketty, Joseph Stiglitz, Branco Milanovic, Wilkinson and Pickett – it matters. And they say it is getting worse. The World Bank and the IMF made “shared prosperity” the theme of their annual meeting this year, and the IMF head, Christine Lagarde, described the rise in global inequality as “staggering”. Just in the past week, Bill Gates, the Financial Times and the (UK) Guardian have all made the case that inequality matters.
The article itself got in a bit of a mess, confusing economic growth rates with growth in trade. Nevertheless, the basic point is still interesting: Tanzania exports nearly three times as much to SADC countries as to EAC countries.
Perhaps, therefore, Tanzania should worry less about getting East African integration right, and focus more on its southern neighbours instead? Continue reading →